Santa Maria used to be Discovery Foods and so I was already very familiar with the brand under its old guise. In fact it has always been my "go to" brand for Mexican food products when I'm looking to make fajitas or enchiladas at home.
The box of goodies arrived from BzzAgent and I was surprised to see that amongst some old favourites there were also some new products that I wasn't familiar with at all!
The box was rammed with goodies. Here's what I received, and their 'official' descriptions:
- Five Peppers - A carefully balanced blend of the finest white, black, green, rose and allspice peppers. Adds an aromatic peppery flavour to anything on the barbecue and to cold cuts.
- Fajita Seasoning Mix Mild - Our Fajita seasoning mix medium has been specially developed to give a taste of Mexico to your meal. A mix of chilli, garlic, coriander and oregano blended to perfection by our chefs.
- Plain Flour Soft Tortillas - Our soft, tasty plain flour tortillas have been developed to be the perfect wrapping for everything from fajitas to quesadillas to burritos. They are the perfect base for any Mexican meal and a store cupboard staple that you should never be without.
- Heat Spice and Shake Corn Chips - These small and crispy corn chips have been lightly salted and are ready to be heated directly in the bag in the microwave or conventional oven. Just make sure to open the bag before heating. Once your chips are warm season them with any of our delicious chip spice mixes and shake. Simply Heat, Spice & Shake!
- Heat Spice and Shake Chips Spice Smokey BBQ - Smoked paprika, cumin, lime juice and a hint of chilli are all brought together to create this full bodied spice mix with a smokey heat. First heat the corn chips in a microwave or conventional oven, season with Smokey BBQ and shake the bag. Then enjoy them warm!
- Salsa Medium - Mexican style salsa made with tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, coriander and lime juice. Ideal for adding to Mexican dishes such as fajitas as well as being part of the BBQ occasion.
I mixed the fajita seasoning with oil and rubbed it into the chicken strips. This was very messy and stained my hands but I like to make sure it's thoroughly coated to ensure even flavour. I left the chicken for an hour to absorb the flavour but that isn't specifically in the instructions; I just like it that way!
I put oil in a heavy based pan (much used as you can see!) and placed it over a high heat. I then stir fried the chicken until golden (about five minutes) then added the veggies for another five minutes or so. Whilst the chicken was cooking I wrapped the tortillas in foil and heated them in the oven.
When the chicken was nearly ready I heated the chips in the microwave as per the packet instructions. The idea is to then season them yourself in the bag, give it a shake and voila, flavoured chips. I have to admit I found this somewhat fiddly; the instructions state to heat in short bursts which took my attention away from the chicken cooking on the hob. Then the seasoning seemed to just stick to the top load of chips and even after vigorous shaking it wasn't evenly dispersed. I liked the taste, as did my husband, but it's something of a novelty product and I much prefer chips/nachos that are already seasoned. They didn't retain their heat for long either so that aspect seems a little pointless. Like I say, they tasted nice but it was a bit time consuming for the end result.
One the chicken was cooked I popped it in a serving bowl, added some extras to the table (grated cheese, jalapeno relish and sour cream) and set everything on the table ready to tuck in!
I buy most of the things that I was sent anyway and the fajitas were delicious as always. I prefer the medium or even the hot fajita seasoning and will always plump for that when I'm shopping. The salsa was nice and chunky just how I like it. Their mild salsa is smooth without any 'bits' if that's your preference. The instructions were easy to follow and there was more than enough to feed 3-4 people. There was only two of us and we had some left over for a late night snack!
One of the main drawbacks of making fajitas at home is that the water in the veg comes out once it's in the pan which can sometimes make the chicken a little bit soggy. In Mexican restaurants they serve fajitas on a cast iron sizzle platter plate which keeps the chicken and veg separate. This means they're crispier than when you make it at home. The flavours and aromas were gorgeous and I will definitely continue to buy things from this range now that it's changed name from Discovery to Santa Maria. I just hope they add refried beans to their range because they're my fave!
I've not used the pepper mill as yet but I will do in the summer (!!) when we have a BBQ or even just to add flavour to a chilli in future.
There you have it - Fajita Friday was a huge success! Even this little scamp couldn't help but be enticed by the mouthwatering smells from the dining room and watched us from the stairs. Naughty Buddy!
Do you like Mexican food? What's your favourite type of cuisine? Let me know in the comments section!
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